Eagle-eyed shoppers spot €878 blunder

Online retailer Littlewoods could be left counting the cost after eagle-eyed shoppers spotted a seven-piece furniture set worth €899 for sale on its website for €21.

The markdown was a blunder and Littlewoods Ireland said yesterday that all purchases for the Balmoral furniture set were on hold.

However, the chairman of the Consumers Association said anyone who bought the furniture for the knockdown €21 price is entitled to their goods — and if they do not get them they should take a case to the small claims court.

The Balmoral dining table and six-chair package normally retails for €899 but in the Littlewoods Ireland online sale it was flagged as costing just €21, sparking a scramble from buyers.

Some shoppers are thought to have bought more than one set, possibly with an eye on resale.

By yesterday afternoon, Littlewoods had realised its mistake, and even though the product remained on the site, any would-be buyers were unable to continue with the purchase option.

On its Facebook page, the company wrote: “On the 22rd of March 2012, due to a technical issue, a handful of products including this one were incorrectly priced on our website. This error was identified and corrected the same day. Whilst it is always our intention to keep our website up to date and error free, pricing errors can occasionally occur. We would apologise for this error and that we are unable to supply the product at this incorrect price.

“We will be directly contacting all affected customers by next Tuesday, March 27, to update them.”

A Littlewoods Ireland staff member admitted that the wrong price had possibly been attached to the product since the sale began on Friday.

“We have realised it is a pricing error,” he said. “I believe all the orders for that are on hold.”

He said that, under the terms and conditions, it was possible that a contract was only formed between buyer and retailer on delivery of the goods, although he conceded that some buyers may be allowed to keep the furniture. Typical delivery time is between 10 and 14 days, meaning anyone who bought the product for €21 is unlikely to have already received it.

The company said it did not know how many units had been sold for €21.

However, the chairman of the National Consumers’ Association of Ireland, Michael Kilcoyne, said anyone who bought the furniture in good faith for the €21 should insist on delivery of the goods.

“My view is: you have purchased it, you have paid for it, so a contract is formed,” he said. “In my view, you have formed a contract the minute you hand over the money or your card is debited.”

Mr Kilcoyne said buyers were entitled to their furniture “and if they do not get it they should sue Littlewoods”.


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